2014 World Cup Portugal vs Ghana

2014 World Cup – Group G
Portugal vs Ghana

Estádio Nacional de Brasília – Brasília, Brazil
Thursday, June 26, 2014, 12:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN2
Money Line: Ghana +205 / Portugal +112 / Draw +308
Point Line: Portugal -0.5 +112 / Ghana +0.5 -132
Total: over 3 -110 / under 3 -110
All Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Portugal and Ghana meet in the World Cup Thursday.
Portugal and Ghana meet in the World Cup Thursday.

Portugal and Ghana both have one point in Group G as the meet in the final group stage game Thursday in Brasilia. They are both behind the United States and Germany who top the group with four points each. All four teams are still alive for the two knockout round berths.

Portugal lost to Germany 4-0 and got a 2-2 draw against the United States with a goal in last minute of stoppage time added to the match Sunday in Manaus. Portugal has a goal differential of -4 so they need some serious help to make the knockout round. Ghana lost 2-1 to the United States and played Germany to a 2-2 draw last Saturday in Fortaleza. Ghana is -1 in goals.

A draw between the US and Germany or a Portugal-Ghana draw would send both USA and Germany into the knockout round. Germany wins the group with a win or a draw against the United States. The US must beat Germany to win the group. Ghana can advance to the knockout round with a win against Portugal, coupled with a US loss and Ghana would have to overcome a 2 goal differential deficit. Portugal must beat Ghana, hope for a US loss and overcome a 5 goal differential deficit. The winner of Group G will face the runner up in Group H (Belgium, Algeria, Russia and South Korea), and vice versa in the round of 16.

Portugal and Ghana have never met before even in a friendly.

Portugal took a 1-0 lead five minutes into the match against the United States on a goal from Nani.

At 64 minutes, Jermaine Jones equalized for the US. Clint Dempsey gave the US a 2-1 lead at 81 minutes. It looked like the United States would pull the upset and secure a place in the round of 16. The refs added 5 minutes of stoppage time and late in the fifth minute Silvestre Varela scored the equalizer on a header to keep Portugal alive for advancement.

The United States had 15 shots including 10 on goal. Portugal had 20 and 9. Portugal had 14 fouls to 11 for the US. Portugal had a slight edge in possession at 52%. The Americans had 6 corners to 4 for Portugal. Portugal had 4 offside calls to 1 for the USA.

Germany and Ghana were scoreless at halftime last Saturday in Fortaleza. Mario Gotze gave Germany a 1-0 lead at 51 minutes. Andre Ayew tied it up for Ghana 3 minutes later. Ghana took a 2-1 lead at 63 minutes on a goal from Asamoah Gyan. Miroslav Klose came in the game at the 69th minute as a sub for Gotze. Klose would score the game tying goal two minutes later. It was the 15th career World Cup goal for Klose which ties the record set by legendary Brazilian striker Ronaldo. Neither team would score again, and the teams settled for the draw.

Germany had 11 shots including 6 on goal. Ghana had 20 shots including 10 on goal. Ghana had 17 fouls to 11 for Germany. The Germans had possession for 59% of the time. Germany had 7 corners to 3 for Ghana. Ghana had 5 offside calls to 1 for Germany.

Portugal is coached by Paulo Bento. Portugal uses a 4-3-3 attack. Portugal is battling all sorts of injuries. Strikers Helder Postiga and Hugo Almeida are both doubtful or out. Defenders Fabio Coentrao and Andre Almeida are both doubtful or out as well. Defender Pepe is expected to return to the line-up after missing the game against the US after getting a red card against Germany. Star forward Cristiano Ronaldo has battled a knee injury of his own. He played against the United States but didn’t do very much until he recorded the assist on the game tying goal in stoppage time.  Nani and Eder can score at anytime. Keeper Beto has struggled giving up six goals in the World Cup.

Ghana is coached by Kwesi Appiah. Ghana will use a 4-2-3-1 formation. Midfielder Sulley Ali Muntari will miss the match against Portugal after accumulating his second yellow card. Emmanuel Badu or Michael Essien could replace him. Forward Asamoah Gyan and the Ayew brothers, Jordan and Andre are the top scoring threats. Keeper Fatua Dauda has made some key saves.

Portugal is a stronger team on paper, but they could be without as many as 4 starters. That will be tough to overcome. This should be an entertaining match as both sides can’t play for a draw and must win to stay alive. Ghana wins 2-1.

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